Brighton and Hove MPs raise concerns about travellers and protesters in public parks

Posted On 15 Jun 2011 at 1:12 pm

Hove Conservative MP Mike Weatherley has criticised the Green Party’s tolerance for travellers and protesters occupying public parks.

His remarks – in a letter to Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive John Barradell – come on the day when Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby raised the issue in Parliament.

Mr Weatherley wrote: “I have been contacted by a number of my constituents about Green support for travellers and squatters and all of the problems that emanate as an inevitable consequence – namely disruption, noise, litter and general crime – which cause distress to many.

“I am particularly concerned about the groups of society-hating ‘anarchist’ rebels posing as genuine protesters who are currently calling our public parks home along with the various other gangs of squatters, eco-travellers, drug-pushers and fly-tippers who cause so much damage to our local environment.”

Mr Weatherley said that he was also concerned about the tourist trade being damaged irreversibly, particularly as so many local jobs were dependent on tourism.

He said: “If we are to sustain and, indeed, create jobs by supporting local businesses, such as those involved with tourism, I feel that it is vital that the new Green administration’s support for various anti-social activities is reversed as a matter of urgency.”

He added: “It is abundantly clear that providing new jobs, which is intrinsic to general economic growth, is the most logical way out of the situation facing Brighton and Hove.

Unhelpful

“The trashing of our parks and green spaces, such as Victoria Park (in Portslade) in my constituency, is most unhelpful.

Mr Kirby brought up the issue in a House of Commons debate held in Westminster Hall this morning.

Communities Minister Bob Neill replied for the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government.

Mr Neill stressed the need to strike a fair balance between the needs of the settled community and travellers.

He said that the provision of authorised sites would lead to greater protection of land overall.

The minister said that the government would give councils further guidance with the intention of not ostracising the travelling community but understanding the views of the settled community.

Mr Kirby said: “I shall continue to press the minister for stronger enforcement of existing legislation and for new powers where these are necessary.

“Following my debate this morning I shall be writing to the Communities Minister, seeking a meeting regarding travellers, unauthorised use of land for protests and party houses.”

Mr Neill also said that the government had set up a working group to tackle the concerns set out by Mr Kirby.

Ministers have earmarked £60 million for councils to spend on setting up authorised sites.

And the Department for Communities and Local Government is carrying out a consultation which ends on 6 July. To take part, got to http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/travellersitesconsultation.

  1. Mr Smith Reply

    ohh wow the traveling community are back in brighton Wild Park in Moulsecoomb i wonder if it was money issues that mean that little preventative bump hump along Wild Park in Moulsecoomb , its going to cost the council a lot more now to remove them / clear up after the travelers have gone ..

  2. anonymous Reply

    Stanmer park is a nice tranquil park on the edge of the Brighton by pass i suspect the travelers will like it there .. BUT provide them with bind and toilet please because Wild park has now got clear signs that they emptied the porta toilets in the woods

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